Forget Air Miles! Earn Earthmiles in Glasgow

Last week I was contacted by a new app startup- Earthmiles- which is expanding to cover Glasgow starting this Saturday 1st August. The concept is simple- this app rewards you for being active. It acts a lot like a store points card- you enjoy moving, you earn points for that movement, and you can redeem those points against actual items, fitness events and classes, or discounts with lots of fitness brands. It has pretty great reviews on various app stores.

So far, so good- the app is free, there isn't any purchasing or similar nasty tricks. It allows entries for walking, running, cycling or yoga. It doesn't have any personal power to GPS track your movement, so it uses input from other apps. I was really glad to see Strava included, because it feels like that is the most popular app among my friends and fellow active folks (also compatible are Runkeeper, Mapmyrun, Mapmywalk, Mapmyride, Jawbone, Fitbit, Moves, Apple Health, Nike +, Garmin...). You can add as many of these as you like, but it obviously doesn't count duplicate activity. However- that is handy if you use one app for one form of exercise and another for another. 

The possible rewards are in three categories- Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness. You can also reward to friends that are on the app instead of yourself, which I thought was really cute. You specify a reward location, which is changeable (All UK, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Manchester at the moment).

Image sent to me by Earthmiles
The site is a little vague on the algorithm for earning earthmiles (maybe its their trade secret?) but I asked and its lightly based on distance, and intensity with 1 em/km for walking, 3 em/km for cycling and 5 em/km for running. So you earn more for 5 kilometers of running (25em) than walking (5em) for example. It doesn't seem difficult to wrack up earthmiles if you are relatively active. It does, however, cleverly correct for cheating. So no taking sneaky car rides and putting them in as earthmiles. It has challenges similar to Strava, in which you can win prizes by earning the most earthmiles. It also has challenges where even trying is enough to win you a random selection prize.  When you spend earthmiles, you will see that your current amount drops, but your overall amount still includes what you had, so you can see how many you accumulate over use*.

Image sent to me by Earthmiles - I like her triumphant fist-pump

Again much like other apps, you have a short profile and you can add friends. The app has a Twitter-like timeline where you see friend activity ('Banter') and another where you see information from the company and news ('Buzz'), which is where challenge sign-ups appear. I found it very easy to use, the only thing I didn't like was that to add a friend you really have to already know that they are on it, as otherwise you just have to search for people's names one at a time. I like that you can email staff straight from the app if you are having issues.

In a weekend (Friday and Saturday): I climbed Friday night, then did parkrun on Saturday including a run to it and a walk home (5 miles running, a few miles walk). I accumulated 44 earthmiles- 39 of which were running earthmiles. The same distance running and walking (3km) was 15 for the run and 3 for the walk, so running earns a whole lot more. A parkrun is around 25 ems. The procedure for getting these was really simple- upload to Strava as usual, 8 or so minutes later I got a notification that I had earned earthmiles. Climbing wasn't included sadly, but I understand that its more of a niche activity! I'm asked if effort plays a part, as I'm hiking tomorrow which should be more strenuous per distance than normal walking. It currently doesn't, but after adding the next round of activities (including pilates), they will be adding an interaction with elevation.

Wellness rewards on the app

Fitness rewards in the app

Profile page

I also had 100 as a starting bonus (everyone gets this) and a 500 EM bonus to try out some of the new Glasgow activities (plus my 44 new points!). Glasgow activities already include a free 7 days yoga with Infinity, money off BurnIt fitness, discounts at Runners Need and Lornah Sportswear (and others), and nutrition deals like money off Juice Warrior- I will likely try the yoga. I might also take part in the Earthmiles Radiance Walkathon, where the goal is to earn maximum earthmiles from August 1st-9th. More for the interest and boost to do lots in a week than for the prize.

Overall I think its a great health app with very few downsides. The only issue I can see is the usual trap with any tracking and points apps- that you may keep forgetting to use them! But no harm if you don't use it on a regular basis. The points just sit there, waiting. Similarly, I walk a lot in a day to and from work, but I don't ever track that. So it wouldn't contribute to my Earthmiles. That feature may be more applicable for people who have a fitbit or Jawbone type device. Given the earth-type environmental slant (the default profile tagline is "Getting fit. Feeling Awesome. Saving the planet."), it would be nice if there was extra points for, say, commuting on foot or bike instead of in a car or bus. So extra points where health and fitness is contributing to environmental health.


Would you use an app like Earthmiles? Do you already?

Do you use apps in general to track fitness, or do you track your exercise in any other way?

This post was not sponsored and I was not paid - the company requested only an honest review of their app around the time of the Glasgow launch. In return I received bonus earthmiles so I could try some of the new Glasgow rewards. I liked the idea and thought it deserved to be highlighted. The app is currently free to everyone. No links are affiliate.

* I have just written 'earthmiles' so many times that it has started to look all wrong. 


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